“Walking with Lincoln,” a television special/DVD project currently in development at Grizzly Adams Productions, has signed licensing agreements to use three books as the basis for its research. Screenwriter Joseph Meier will rely heavily on the books—Walking with Lincoln: Spiritual Strength from America’s Favorite President by Tom Freiling (Revell/Baker Book House), The Inspired Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln by Philip L. Ostergard (Tyndale) and Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage by Joe Wheeler (Howard Books).
“There are more books written about Abraham Lincoln than all of the other U.S. president’s combined,” observes Charles E. Sellier, president of Grizzly Adams Productions and the film’s supervising producer. “The majority of these writings focus on Lincoln as the man who led the country into the Civil War and who was the first American president ever assassinated. What we learn from reading these three books, though, is convincing evidence that he was also the first openly Christian American president.”
The film addresses the concept that, although Lincoln was the country’s unlikely political leader, he was also equally its improbable pastor.
“Lincoln was a prayerful man who referred to God throughout his writings and public appearances,” explains Grizzly Adams senior producer David Balsiger. “For example, as we see in Freiling’s book, Lincoln’s second inaugural address contains fourteen references to God, four direct quotations from Scripture, and several other references to biblical teaching.”
In his book Walking with Lincoln, Freiling combines historically documented events with close scrutiny of Lincoln’s writings to present the president’s faith and philosophy of life. Chapter titles include “Ask for Prayer,” “Search the Scriptures,” “Love Your Enemies,” and “Have a Servant’s Heart.”
“Freiling captures the essence of how Lincoln’s knowledge and application of the Bible shaped the way he led the country,” notes Joe Meier, the screenwriter of the documentary. “It’s a great reminder that our leaders were once guided by honor and ideals instead of opinion polls.”
In Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage, author Joe Wheeler skillfully weaves an entertaining narrative—based on more than a decade of exhaustive Lincoln research—with direct quotes and contemporary observations. Filled with anecdotes and historical details, Wheeler provides a compelling overview of how Lincoln’s life experiences and the continual challenges to his faith shaped his leadership.
“The Wheeler book takes you from Lincoln’s birth to his death,” Balsiger clarifies. “The reader sees a man who fails at virtually everything he tries, yet whose self-taught Bible scholarship give him the strength to hold together a country that is being torn apart.”
The Inspired Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln is the product of Ostergard’s years of studying every documented reference Lincoln makes to God, the Bible, and Christian principles. Ostergard traces the development of the sixteenth U.S. president’s faith using excerpts from Lincoln’s own writings as the framework. As Sellier observes,
“The book illustrates the depth of Lincoln’s knowledge of Scripture, as well as the Bible’s influence on the man’s character despite the complex times in which he lived.”
“Walking with Lincoln” promises to be a comprehensive investigative documentary of America’s most pivotal president in a context frequently ignored by contemporary historians. The documentary is scheduled for TV and DVD release in the winter of 2008.